GAO Faults FEMA On Nationwide Alert System – NPR

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has made little progress on an emergency-alert system despite a 2006 executive order that called for improvements in the system in light of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, congressional investigators said Wednesday.

The system — officially called the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System — also remains “largely unchanged” since a review completed in 2007 by the Government Accountability Office, the GAO’s director of physical infrastructure, Mark L. Goldstein, told lawmakers in prepared remarks.

Even though FEMA has some projects under way, Goldstein said the GAO “found the reliability of a national-level relay system — which would be critical if the president were to issue a national-level alert — remains questionable due to (1) a lack of redundancy, (2) gaps in coverage, (3) a lack of testing and training, and (4) limitations in how alerts are disseminated to the public.”